After many, many days of heavy downpours and what seemed like non-stop rain, we woke on Sunday morning to clear blue skies. It was such a pleasant surprise.
And the blue skies were so welcome because Alfie’s sea scout group was celebrating its 70th birthday.
The first meeting of the Group was in a private residence in Clifton Gardens on the 19th of August, 1944. Being the sea scouts, it needed a boat and the first boat was a 27-foot whaler christened ‘Gilwell’ by Lady Baden-Powell at Balmoral Beach in October 1947. In March 1951 the first section of the boat shed and meeting hall was built on the beach at Little Sirius Cove. There was no power to the new shed and lighting was provided by batteries. By October 1954 a second floor had been added and both floors were extended in 1970. In 2007 some badly needed renovations were completed on the shed which should allow it to remain a resource for the young people of Mosman for many years to come.
‘Cliffo’, as it has come to be known, has introduced many young people to a lifetime love of sailing and boating. Through fundraising and generous donations, Cliffo owns a number of tasars, lasers, canoes, kayaks and rowing boats.
The invitation to the birthday celebrations stated that a sausage sizzle was being provided but asked if everyone could bring a plate of something to share. Having had a dinner party the night before and an appointment Sunday morning, I hadn’t actually spent hours in the kitchen preparing anything. I raced to the shops and tried to think of what I could make that would be quick and easy and came home with some strawberries, marshmallows and bamboo skewers.
At lightning-pace, I pushed the strawberries and marshmallows onto the skewers and laid them out into nice neat rows and carefully covered my platter in glad-wrap and then already an hour late, we piled into the car with the platter, an esky of drinks, a bag of swimming gear and two excited dogs.
When we arrived the sausage sizzle was in full swing and I put my platter down on the outdoor table then went to get my camera to take a photo of my creation. I came back to the table and in my brief absence there had been a stampede and most of my skewers were no longer in existence. I protectively guarded what was left of my dishevelled skewers and managed one quick photo of the remnants. Seconds later they were all gone and Alfie missed out.
Never mind, he was happy where he was and that was in a canoe where he spent a good couple of hours. While he was out on the water there were speeches and then the first ever member of the Cliffo Scouts was asked to cut the cake.
The cake was cut into generous pieces and passed around and Alfie missed out on cake as well – in fact I don’t think he had anything to eat or drink the entire day and that’s fairly standard as he’d rather be running around and when presented with these sorts of opportunities, food is just a nuisance.
He didn’t just run around; he was also buried. The cubs dug a deep hole in the sand and I don’t know why it’s always Alfie but it always is and he was the one buried up to his ears and he couldn’t have been happier.
Sirius Cove is an unleashed dog park and so Ruby and Rosie had a lovely day of sniffing and scavenging. Ruby found a sausage that had rolled of the bar-be-cue and Rosie found a chocolate chip cookie. They were rationed to a light-diet later that day.
The weather to celebrate the 70th birthday couldn’t have been better. Although a winter’s day, there was warmth. I could feel some heat in the sunshine which was a sure sign Spring is almost upon us.
The ‘shed’ has been an important part of the lives of many young people in the area; a place where they go to learn new skills, make friendships and gain confidence with being on the water. It’s a ‘shed’ that exists because of the generosity of volunteers who week after week give their time to train up young boys and girls and give them some adventurous outdoor time.
It was a wonderful and relaxing way to spend the day and Alfie in his uniform, running around with the other cubs, was very proud to be a part of the celebrations.
1st Clifton Gardens Sea Scouts: Sirius Cove, Mosman NSW 2088